With the presidential election just eight months away, AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE is launching an ambitious effort to bring the industry together around a simple but forceful housing agenda for the next president and secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

We are calling this campaign Americans for a New Federal Housing Commitment, and our goal is to start to reverse the long absence of coherent policy-making on housing now, before the next president takes office.

We’ve asked the experts what they think, and now it’s your turn. Please read the following tentative list of policy ideas below, think about them and how they might help you deliver housing in your market area, and rank the most important ones on a scale of one to 10, with one being most important.

We want to promote principles that are important enough to make a difference but not so specific as to prevent consensus from a variety of industry stakeholders.

We have put forth a wide range of possible measures for urgent action by the next president and the president’s appointee to run HUD. We focused on encouraging more efficient use of current government resources and private market forces, since expensive new direct subsidies are not likely to be enacted, with some limited exceptions.

We have chosen not to list broad policy goals like “end chronic homelessness,” since they are too general to elicit a meaningful response.

Your input is crucial to this process. We will use your feedback to boil this down to a list of 10 principles for federal housing policy. With your help, we will then seek endorsements for our principles from prominent Americans—not just those in housing and government but also business leaders, members of Congress, and other opinion leaders. We will present our policy proposal with a list of endorsers to key advisers of the presidential candidates and distribute it to state and national leaders.

We will invite key policy advisers to the final presidential candidates to attend a public forum on housing policy and HUD as part of AHF Live: The 2008 Tax Credit Developers’ Summit, which takes place Nov. 5-7 in Chicago.